Denny Burk: Praising grace and gay marriage all in one day

Of all the spectacles we witnessed today, perhaps the one that stood out to me most is the President of the United States. Early today, he stood in the Rose Garden praising gay marriage (watch below). A few short hours later, he stood in a Christian worship service praising the grace of God (watch above). In a single day, praising Jesus in the assembly and denying him in the Rose Garden. From the same lips, a confession of life-giving truth and of soul-destroying error. This ought not be (James 3:10).

It is one thing when a secular person claiming no connection to Christ endorses gay marriage. That is not surprising and hardly worth commenting on here. But that is not the case with the spectacle we viewed today. The President claims the mantle of Christianity and has previously invoked his Christian faith as the basis of his support for gay marriage, saying,

[Michelle and I] we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and, hopefully, the better I’ll be as president.

No, I’m not citing the president to make a partisan point. Nor am I pointing to him as the cause of our nation’s slide to legal gay marriage. The president is a sign of our times, not the cause of our times. He is a reflection of an American public who are more than willing to revise Christ’s teaching in order to accommodate the latest transgression of the sexual revolution.

The president may have assumed the role of syncretist-in-chief, but he is not alone in his confusion about what “Amazing Grace” really means. For every one of us who stood aghast at the President’s hypocrisy, there were probably ten more who saw no contradiction whatsoever. And that is why I believe it is worth taking a little time here to clarify things for those who may be unclear on what the grace of God really is.

The “amazing grace” of God is not a permission slip for sin. On the contrary, the grace of God “teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:12). The “amazing grace of God” that saves us from the penalty of sin also delivers us from the power of sin. It teaches us to receive joyfully every word that proceeds from the mouth of God—including those words about marriage (Matthew 4:4). In short, the grace of God transforms us into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).

So I take no joy in the President’s rendition of the “Amazing Grace” of God today. How could I? There is no reconciling sexual immorality with following Jesus. You can have one or the other but not both—even though the President and many others of our countrymen have told us otherwise.

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